Did you know that pinnipeds are seals, sea lions and walruses? So what do they have to do with building technology and architecture?
Well, architecture is a field that is constantly evolving due to changes in building technology, building codes, and design trends and techniques. This is why in Illinois there are mandatory continuing education requirements to maintain an architectural license. DLA Architects hosts a variety of programs to enable our staff to stay current and master new knowledge and skills.
Each fall we host a special event that takes us out of our typical environment to think about spaces in a different way. We’ve looked at many of the notable buildings in Chicago to discuss what makes them great from a design perspective and from an aesthetic perspective. We’ve delved deep into the idea of “what makes a great school.”
So again, what do pinnipeds have to do with architecture? Well, this fall for our continuing ed program, we ventured over to Brookfield Zoo to hear from one of their experts about the unique systems they utilize in their Seven Seas & Pinniped Point Water Quality Facilities. After lunch and mingling in the Discovery Center, we made our way to the plant. Here we were given a behind the scenes look at the filtration and water conditioning systems. Our guide Dave explained the special challenges in balancing the unique aquatic systems for the pinnipeds and the bottlenose dolphins. We learned about the rigorous testing and safety standards that are followed based on regulatory standards and the zookeepers’ concern for the animals’ welfare. Our guide explained that the purification and filtering requirements for the sea lions, whose habitat was open to the outside environment, were different than those of the indoor dolphins.
Both saltwater systems are designed to reflect the natural environment the animals might experience in the wild, not only for the overall health of the animal, but to promote natural behaviors. We learned about how the zookeepers provide activities to keep the animals stimulated.
Overall, the tour was great. We had a glimpse into the inner workings of the Water Quality Facilities and we couldn’t help making the comparison between these systems and the systems we design for our pool and recreation centers. There were some glaring differences, but some remarkable similarities. It was a fun learning experience and afterwards we explored the rest of the zoo.
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